If there’s one thing we’ve learned about sustainable tourism, then that sustainability is a team effort, much easier to achieve for those who can benefit from exchange of ideas and advice. While our interviews are packed with tips and examples to follow, sometimes it’s good to connect directly with fellow tourism professionals, to hear their story first hand. But which groups and networks dedicated to sustainability (online and offline) should tourism practitioners follow?
Our key takeaways:
- On Facebook, the Responsible Tourism Networking group is the most popular.
- Ecotourism practitioners should join and follow the Global Ecotourism Network and its regional chapters.
- The Global Sustainable Tourism Council is considered a valuable network you should engage with.
- Destination practitioners should keep an eye on Green Destinations.
I’ll focus on the top three platforms for destination sustainability practitioners: obviously Green Destinations, which I founded (online news, annual conference event), then the Sustainability Leaders Project, and the Travindy newsletter.
I recommend joining and following the One Planet Network.
For tourism educators and researchers, a good platform to network and engage is the Building Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Education Network.
Too many to list. That’s why we need a better clearing house than any of us can do alone. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s GSTC criteria remain the closest thing we’ve got to an international consensus on minimums to follow.
Organizations that I am tracking at the moment:
There are many networks alive and well today, from Responsible Tourism Networking to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, of which I am a board member. The GSTC has provided industry and destination frameworks and minimum standards for each – these are vetted through multiple stakeholder processes and updated every 3-5 years.
I would also encourage checking locally about relevant initiatives in your town, city, state – there are relevant organizations at very local levels.
In addition, I would add that conservation organizations are continuously addressing climate issues and these need to be front and center. Many of these have local offices to connect with and engage with.
- This platform, of course, the Sustainable Leaders Project
- The Global Ecotourism Network and its regional groups, like the European Ecotourism Network, the Asian Ecotourism Network and the Latin American & Caribbean Ecotourism Network
- The Global Sustainable Tourism Council
- Responsible Tourism Networking
- Green Destinations
- The newest kid on the block, Tourism Declares for “glocal” action on the climate emergency
- Some more outside of social media, but with tons of resources, are Tourism2030 and the UNWTO platform Tourism4SDGs, Newswise, Travindy.
- Dealing with travel & tourism issues as well, but with a wider approach: The Finland We Want 2050 and The Future Proof Community.
- Last not least, with potential for more: Travel Massive Responsible Tourism Chapter
In our part of the world, I want to say not just follow, but engage with our Asian Ecotourism Network.
- Global Sustainable Tourism Council
- Global Ecotourism Network
- Latin American & Caribbean Ecotourism Network
A good global network that helps to find people is the Responsible Tourism Networking group on Facebook, which has over 16K members.
Travindy for industry news.
Pretty much everything important will be covered just by those above.
Well, there are many networks across the globe dedicated to sustainability that every stakeholder in the tourism sector, including tourism practitioners, should adhere to. Some of the groups and networks which I follow closely:
With their philosophy, “Ecology through Tourism!”, this network of professionals from all over the world, focuses on ecotourism, sustainable tourism and the sharing economy worldwide. Current and aspiring tourism professionals, practitioners and academic share their philosophy. A valuable networking and job-searching platform for any emerging and seasoned professional in the ecotourism and sustainable tourism sphere.
This social enterprise group work to help adapt the way consumers, businesses and traders operate, ensuring that they can leave a positive footprint on the developing world. Their annual Responsible Tourism Awards are one of the first tourism awards in Asia specifically focused on sustainable tourism best practices.
This social media group is a network of rural tourism experts, practitioners and academics from worldwide who share their experience, best practice, innovative sustainable tourism products and innovations. The group was initially setup to manage the rural tourism sector more responsibly in Malaysia. Subsequently, the network grew worldwide with 636 individual members and organization advocating responsible rural tourism.
GSTC is managing the global baseline standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as acting as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certifications.
Surely, the Sustainability Leaders Project, as well as the HospitalityNet World Panel on Sustainability in Hospitality.
Additionally, the Tourism2030 platform and network is filled with valuable tools and resources for tourism practitioners.
The UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) may be equally valuable to tourism professionals.
More about the sustainable tourism expert panel here – including previous sessions and answers to some of the most pressing issues linked to making tourism more sustainable.
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